Digital marketing is a booming field and has been for some time now. Agencies of all sizes have been popping up and growing over the years, and time and time again, many of their employees will end up heading out on their own to freelance rather than work for a boss.
While working for a company as a digital marketer can have its benefits, going out on your own can be much more rewarding in the long run.
As of 2020 freelance income currently makes up 5% of the GDP of the US, and that number is steadily growing. If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss and work when and how you want to, freelancing might be your dream come true.
Freelancing is a viable career choice for writers, logo designers, digital marketers, and many other creatives.
As a successful freelancer, the world will be yours from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the gorgeous coasts of Croatia or the towering skyscrapers of New York.
However, it’s quite challenging as well. You’ll need to be ready for your share of heartbreak on the way to realizing your dreams, which is why we’ve put together this guide of tips on how to become a freelance digital marketer.
How to Become a Freelance Digital Marketer
As we mentioned above, going freelance in the digital marketing space is often a choice someone makes after working for an agency, and having that experience will help, a lot, BUT you don’t need to go that route.
There are so many ways to learn the skills required of digital marketers these days from blogs and YouTube videos to paid courses and certifications from companies like Google. There is no shortage of information out there, but building the experience will require that you apply what you learn.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your freelance digital marketing career won’t be, either. However, it’s going to be much closer after you read the below freelance digital marketer tips.
Foster An Optimistic Attitude
The hardest part of freelancing is getting started, so the most important thing you can have is a forward-thinking, can-do attitude. According to a survey that Payoneer performed, established freelancers rate their job satisfaction at an astonishing 4.1/5.
Freelancers see real value in their work, with 63% saying they look forward to going to work each day, 82% taking pride in their career, and 94% believing their work made a worthwhile contribution to the world.
You should understand statistics on how happy freelancers are on a deeper level than simple cause and effect. A positive attitude, a love of your work, and a drive to succeed all help you to succeed at freelancing, and working as a freelancer may further foster these attributes.
We cannot stress just how important having a positive attitude can be, and this is not something to take lightly. As a career freelancer, you will face a lot of hardship, have to overcome many new obstacles, and become quite resilient in order to succeed.
We would highly recommend getting organized, learning some of the basics like freelance money management, learning the ins and outs of business, dive into the digital marketing industry through blogs and YouTube tutorials, and never stop learning.
We have also put together a list of the best books for freelancers that we think you might dig. Well, let’s dig into getting started as a freelance digital marketer!
Choose What To Specialize In
Being a jack of all trades is all well and good, but the best way to succeed as a freelancer is to pick out a niche. The US and other English-speaking nations such as the UK are experiencing a shortage of skilled marketers, and you can profit from this by seeking out a field where a skill gap exists.
By entering a field where marketers are in demand, you’re setting yourself up for success as a freelance digital marketer.
There are many different fields you could get into that are currently, and likely always going to be in high demand. Each of them are going to require a broad knowledge of marketing in general, but once you choose what you want to focus on, you will want to apply that broad knowledge to the specific skills required.
A few fields to choose from include:
- Lead Generation
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- PPC Advertising
Develop Your Skills
If you came from an agency you will likely have all of the online marketing skills you will need to get started. But as you know, this industry is always changing and the rate of change is only increasing.
Even if you are considered an expert, you will need to stay on top of the latest trends in marketing, learn about all of the new apps and platforms coming out that offer an advantage over the competition, and more.
No matter which field you choose, there will be plenty of resources to teach you the specifics of how to build your skillset. YouTube, blogs, and online courses that cover these topics are everywhere and many of which are totally free.
Choose Your Stack
Those coming from an agency will also be used to using all of the great apps out there that make digital marketing much easier. Apps like SEMRush, Moz, SparkToro, Asana, the various CRMs, and many more, but you won’t have access to those tools once you go out on your own unless you have the cash to pay for them.
In my experience the best way to justify paying the monthly fee for these apps is to secure a client that will require the tool and use the funds from that first client to pay the monthly subscription fee.
Then, once you secure a second, third and tenth client your margins increase over time. If you need the app to perform some research to secure a client in the sales process, most of them offer a free trial. Be sure to take advantage of these.
Once you have a software stack in place, go all in and learn everything you can about them. Each of their features will provide you with data you need to offer even more services. If you are going to pay the price for the apps, milk them for all they are worth and use their features as opportunities to up- and cross-sell to your existing clients.
Demand is high for digital marketers, so you will need to put in the effort to stick out and show your ability. Building out a portfolio of work will go much farther than simply posting a CV to your website and hoping for the best.
You should orient your portfolio around the industry you’re hoping to enter to demonstrate your area-specific expertise to potential clients.
If you are just getting started this means you may have to prove yourself by offering your services for free or at a discount. You will soon find out that every client you wow with your services will gladly refer you to a friend of theirs who also needs your services so don’t feel bad about working hard upfront to build your skills and your portfolio. The money will come.
Your portfolio of work and the case studies you build as a career freelance digital marketer are going to be some of the most important assets that you have complete control over. You should also use these projects to document your steps and approach so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you land another digital marketing client.
The School for Freelancers
You can consider the School for Freelancers team your personal digital marketing freelancer guides. We’ve helped people from all walks of life learn how to be a successful freelance digital marketer, and we can help you achieve your dreams too. Explore our blog to learn all about the joys and pitfalls of being your own boss.